Indians' Giambi becomes oldest to hit walk-off homer

The SportsXchange

CLEVELAND -- Jason Giambi says on nights like Monday, he doesn't feel as if he's 42.

"This is what keeps me coming back year after year," the Cleveland designated hitter said after hitting a mammoth, pinch-hit, walk-off home run leading off the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Indians a 3-2 win over the Chicago White Sox.

"There is no moment more special than helping your club win a game like that and then getting to enjoy it with your teammates," he said.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Giambi became the oldest player in major league history (42 years, 202 days) to hit a walk-off homer.

The Indians needed Giambi's heroics because they didn't do much offensively over the first eight innings. John Danks and three Chicago relievers held Cleveland to two runs on three hits entering the ninth.

Giambi, pinch-hitting for Mark Reynolds, sent a 1-1 pitch from Ramon Troncoso (1-3) soaring majestically over the wall in center field for his seventh home run of the season, the 436th of his career. It was his ninth career walk-off homer.

"I hit it pretty good, but you never know here," Giambi said.

Chicago manager Robin Ventura said, "He's been doing that for a while. He's over there for a reason."

The Indians earned their fifth win in a row while extending Chicago's losing streak to four games.

Cleveland closer Chris Perez (3-1) pitched the top of the ninth to record the win.

The Indians collected just four hits and made two errors but still won thanks to solid pitching and Giambi's big bat.

"We made some mistakes but it didn't cost us the game because we picked each other up," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said.

The White Sox scored their only runs in the sixth inning off Zach McAllister, snapping Cleveland pitchers' streak of 26 scoreless innings, which included back-to-back shutouts in a three-game weekend sweep of the Texas Rangers.

Trailing 1-0, the White Sox had three consecutive two-out hits off McAllister. Alex Rios doubled and scored on Adam Dunn's double. Paul Konerko singled to score Dunn, giving Chicago a 2-1 lead.

"I left a few pitches up. They are good hitters, and they made me pay," said McAllister, who gave up two runs on five hits in seven innings.

The Indians tied it with a run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Danks walked the first two batters, Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher. Jason Kipnis reached on a bunt single to load the bases with no outs.

Bourn scored on a groundout by Asdrubal Cabrera, but Danks got the next two batters on groundouts to end the threat.

The Indians took a 1-0 lead in the second inning, which began with Cabrera reaching on an error by third baseman Conor Gillaspie. Cabrera went to third on a double by Ryan Raburn, and he scored on a sacrifice fly by Carlos Santana.

Cleveland scored first in a team-record 16th consecutive game. The former team record was 15 games, set in July 1906. The Indians' current streak of scoring first is the longest in the majors since Milwaukee scored first in 21 consecutive games in 1990.

Danks, whose 2012 season ended in early August due to shoulder surgery, gave up two runs (one earned) on two hits in six-plus innings.

"My command certainly wasn't where it needed to be," Danks said. "I got by with some mistakes. That's a good team over there."

NOTES: Prior to the game, the White Sox traded RHP Jesse Crain to the Tampa Bay Rays for a player to be named or cash. The All-Star reliever has a 0.74 ERA this year, but he's currently out due to a strained right shoulder. ... Dunn's next home run will move him past Cal Ripken (431) and into 43rd place on the all-time list. ... Reynolds, mired in an extended slump, was back in the Indians' starting lineup after sitting out the three-game weekend series with Texas. Reynolds, who went 0-for-1 with two walks, is hitting .104 (5-for-48) in July, with no home runs and one RBI. ... Chicago RHP Jake Peavy, who is rumored to be on the trade market, will start Tuesday against the Indians and LHP Scott Kazmir.
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